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Is There More Than One Perfect?

Is There More Than One Perfect?

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What is a personality? Is it just our imperfections which define us a certain way, whereas if we were to lose our imperfections (jealousy, stress, anger, and the “big one,” low self-esteem), would we all be the same?

Okay, here goes: Let’s say for argument’s sake that you worked very hard to become perfect. You learned, you walked the talk, you developed your character, you refined your entire being, and now you have reached perfection. Mazel tov!

Now, while you were working on becoming perfect, so was I, and I made it!

I decided to make a case study, and research perfect people, to uncover and see if and what are true personalitiesQuestion: Are we now the same? We have both made it, but is there just one it?

Is there only one perfection in this world? Or, are there billions of perfections where everyone has their own perfection to be reached, and no two peaks are the same?

Head spinning yet? Let’s present it another way.

When people pass away and move on to the World of Truth, they lose their evil inclination and their animal instincts. They are divine souls basking in the light of G‑d. Do these souls have personalities?

Is my one grandfather, who was an introvert, the same as my other grandfather, who was an extreme extrovert? Are personalities lost in heaven?

When you walk over to Uncle Bernie’s gravesite and crack a joke, is he laughing up there? And is his wife Ida still screaming at him, “Be quiet, shlimazel! I need to sew!”?

To summarize: is there only one way to be perfect?

For some of you the answer might seem so obvious. For me it wasn’t.

I racked my brains endlessly, seeking to understand what makes you and me so different. Wishing to believe that I can find my own voice not only by being “different” and wearing funny-colored hats, with four earrings in each ear and lip, and listening to heavy metal full-blast on the subway. Asking the question: is Woodstock the home of self-expression?

So I decided to make a case study, and research perfect people, to uncover and see if and what are true personalities. Not so easy these days to find contestants . . . But thankfully our history is full of them, so I had to make the case study based on data—but I had the most reliable data on earth: the Torah.

It didn’t take too long for the answer to show itself. It was there in the personalities of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron . . . By the end of the most preliminary of research, my question was reversed: do perfect people have anything in common?

Obviously the answer is a resounding Yes! They are all dedicated to G‑d and His wishes. No sin. Just goodness. Each a role model. Each a tzaddik, a righteous person.

That is where the similarities stop.

Moses was the leader supreme of the Jewish people, while his brother Aaron was peacemaker supreme. Abraham was Supreme Kindness while Isaac was Supreme Discipline. Each finding their voice and uniqueness, while both in the realm of perfection. These were perfect people with a voice.

Their personality shone through who they were, not through what they wore.

In truth, the more one got closer to perfection, the more unique he becameThe Midrash and Talmud share many anecdotes which present the fact that people do retain their personalities even after death. Moses is still Moses and Rabbi Akiva is still Rabbi Akiva. Each soul has reached their own perfection.

In truth, the more one got closer to perfection, the more unique he became. The further we go from caving in to societal pressures and norms, and the closer we inch to fulfilling our destiny and purpose, the more “me” we become.

In closing:

I will never be you and you will never be me (thank G‑d for both of us). So instead of finding your “own” voice by imitating celebrities and talking the language of the urchins, let’s be ourselves by being the best people we can be! Your light will shine brightly.

And when Moshiach comes and brings the world to its perfection, you can be sure that you will retain your uniqueness. There will never be another you. You will be the perfect you. The true you. The only you.

You.

Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
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Anonymous January 13, 2013

Thanks! Your articles really hit the spot! Thanks Rabbi Avtzon! Reply

A.H. San Mateo, USA March 22, 2011

Dress: the outer manifestation of the inner being? So true, and beautifully put. It's an amazing opportunity to be given a life to live according to His perfect plan and purpose. And I would argue that what we wear says everything about how in sync we are with that reality.

The choices made in dress express for whom do we dress and what we represent to the world each day, no? Reply

L. Foster Lakeside, CA March 22, 2011

Becoming Perfect I really enjoyed this article. It is too bad that more people in this world do not move towards the spiritual perfection that awaits them. Striving towards perfection at times seems a little like hitting your head on the wall, and when you realize "hey i dont have to do that anymore"then the concept of perfection becomes infinitely clearer. Reply

Mike Canton, Georgia March 21, 2011

What a wonderful and "on-spot" commentary! Reply

Chaim Teleshevsky S. Monica, CA via chabadonmontana.com March 21, 2011

great article And think about the fact that G-d knows You. the unique You that you are now and the perfect You that you can become....

"He that fashions the hearts of them all, that considers all their doings."
psalms 33:15 Reply

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